Book Review: Real Food for Pregnancy

When the publisher of Real Food for Pregnancy, by Lily Nichols, offered to send me a copy of the book for review, I jumped at the chance. I’d heard great things about Nichols’ other book, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes from my colleagues.

Nichols’ book is a sensible approach to eating a whole foods diet in pregnancy. As someone who was largely influenced by the La Leche League philosophy statement that “good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible,” this book’s perspective really rang true to me.

In addition to being an informative nutrition guide with helpful meal plans and recipes, this book offers comprehensive information about topic like: macronutrient balance, micronutrients specifically important in pregnancy, nutritional relief of symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy, and pregnancy. She also includes information about supplements, toxins, physical activity, and tests you’ll encounter during your care.

Nichols backs her statements with a wealth of evidence–the bulk of which come from up-to-date, reliable, peer-reviewed sources. That being said, there are a couple things in the book that gave me pause. She refers to Weston A. Price’s work, which I know many “crunchy” folks follow with enthusiasm. However, I have found a lot of misinformation and unsubstantiated claims coming from that camp over the years, so whenever I even see a reference to WAP I am immediately a little skeptical. As well, she has a pretty clear anti-vegetarian-especially-vegan stance. I will defer to her on the research because this is one area where I can see she really did her homework, BUT I know this will rub some folks the wrong way. She does have information about optimizing your vegetarian diet, so it is certainly not a blanket warning by any means. (Many of you know I have a pescatarian diet, and feel pretty good about the balance of that, but also remember I am not growing a little person with my body anymore, so my diet choices should have no influence on anyone else.)

That being said, this book is accessible, readable, and chock-full of great information. I am grateful to have been given a chance to review it, and am pleased to add it to my lending library!